The Ai Group does it again

I guess many of us thought that the Ai Group might improve with the appointment of a new chief executive.  We were wrong.  It has become worse, if that were possible.

Check out this reaction to the completely rational suggestion that the Queensland government withdraw the referral of its industrial relations powers to the Commonwealth, executed by the Bligh government.

Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox said terminating the referral would “increase complexity and costs for employers”. “Some changes need to be made to the national IR system to improve flexibility and productivity, but these changes need to be made within the Fair Work Act,” he said. “It would be an extremely retrograde step for the Queensland government to withdraw any employers or employees from the national system.”

Actually, it makes complete sense for the Queensland government to resume (light-handed) regulation of the employment relations of unincorporated businesses.  This is where the dead hand of national, highest common denominator is having an appalling impact, particularly in a regionally disparate state like Queensland.

And note to the Ai Group: only 5 per cent of businesses operate in more than one state, so where would this increase in complexity be coming from?

But with employer groups such as the Ai Group operating against the best interests of the vast majority of businesses, one really wonders.

Of course, when it comes to the Anti-Dumping Commission, the Ai Group is lending its full support to the government.  Its protectionist roots are really coming to the fore these days.

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12 Responses to The Ai Group does it again

  1. Leigh Lowe

    Keep it up Innes.
    Don’t rock the boat and the RBA Board seat is there for the taking.

    Why any business would subscribe to Ai Group is beyond me.

  2. Luke

    Judith, the referral of powers was the Federal and States’ law officers trying to band aid the abortion that was the work choices case. Particular exemptions were needed (as work choices legislation and the High Court precedent went far too far). e.g. application to local governments. Any corporation was covered becasue of the vague nature of ‘trading’ corporation.

    How many sole traders and partnerships employ people in the States? Not one tenth of the number needed to justify the States funding a seperate IR system for them – that’s how many. Unless you’re advocating bigger (and more overlapping) government Judith, I think you have got this one wrong.

    Oh, BTW. The reason Bligh’s (mis)leadership went down the whole referral of powers was to scrap the State IR system which, after work choices, was left with almost nothing to do (quite litterally) and was embarassingly costly to do so little. It was one of the small wins Queenslanders got out of the Bligh government.

    Also, it’s sole traders and partnerships that employ people who would want an IR system instead of professionals who prefer to be coverd by contract law.

  3. tbh

    The business lobby groups in Australia really are the most useless bunch of economic retards and spivs.

  4. JohnA

    Agreed, tbh.

    And who says that assigning powers from the States to the Federal government is “a good thing” (like a moral imperative) anyhow?

  5. kingsley

    It is interesting that if the largest companies in Australia in a particular market announced they were going to join together and cease to compete in the name of “harmonisation” they would be prosecuted for anti-competitive behaviour and there would be a massive outcry but if the States and Territories do the same thing it is seen as a wonderful “reform”.

    Surely one of the best ways to keep Government honest is to make them compete against each other.
    The fact bureaucrats love “harmonisation” should tell us something

    This is one of the structural advantages the USA has, 50 States competing against each other.

  6. jasbo

    tbh: on the money.

    AIG is the business world’s equivalent of the union movement: political class insiders on the make, always willing to sell out their members’ interests to gain the approval of other political class insiders.

    There’s no-one left to make a real argument or hold govt accountable for real policy settings; the Coalition refuses, industry refuses, the media has become an arm of government, social policy research is too often quantitatively-justified prejudice.

    Major failing of the structure of our civil society.

  7. Jon at WA

    Try national competition policy whereby states compete to host industries based on wise and fair industrial relations agreements. Hey wouldn’t it be great to walk into a business where the owner wasn’t answering the phone, putting away orders, serving customers, etc, in order to save enough money to pay for the social welfare system to nurse-maid the people they would employ to do these tasks.

    And Luke’s comment
    Also, it’s sole traders and partnerships that employ people who would want an IR system instead of professionals who prefer to be coverd by contract law.

    As a sole trader and previously as an employee I would like the lawyers to bugger off. You may be surprised to hear employers and employees are generally capable of negotiating agreements without the cost of scum out of Arts Law Faculties creating an amazingly complex web of entitlement. Laws and regulation far in excess of the ability to withdrawal labour.

  8. James Bauer

    State governments can do a lot to destroy unions. Campbell Newman can start by fining the CFMEU in QLD $10 million each time its members engage in industrial action.

  9. That’s an intriguing prospect JB. Maybe the Unions, who obviously have enough to pay for OS junkets and pussy for their officials, have more than enough to pay the Bligh Debt off.
    They might have to empty a few hollow logs, but hey! There’s a war on, you know!.

  10. Tel

    jasbo: I suspect you will find that AIG do follow the will of their members, but mostly the big business members. Big business has a lot to gain from political connections, and a lot to lose if their competitors get political leverage and use it against them.

  11. Bazza

    I am a retired CEO of 11 years. All I can say about the current crop of executives is that they rely on university trained advisors/researchers/bum boys to tell them how to run their business.
    Gone are the days of execs making a decision based on their knowledge of their industry, rather they rely on a bunch of over educated dills who have NEVER spent a minute doing the hard yards ‘in the field’.

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